Welcome back to the College Football Rundown. With eight games spanning the entire slate, I am going to cover them game by game this week instead of individual players.
Baylor v. Oklahoma (-9/64)
The slate begins with a rematch of a game played just three weeks ago in which we saw Oklahoma erase a 24 point deficit to come back and beat Baylor. We have the luxury of a recent game played with not much different from either team besides CeeDee Lamb being active for Oklahoma. Both quarterbacks fared well in this game from a fantasy perspective and Hurts is still priced at his $9,000 standard price point. It goes without saying that Hurts is still the top quarterback play on the board this week though Baylor did bottle him up in the first half of their first meeting. However, stand-out receiver CeeDee Lamb was inactive for that game and is back to full strength. On the Baylor side of the ball, Charlie Brewer managed 33 fantasy points in the last meeting, however, that was due to two rushing touchdowns. Brewer does have 10 rushing touchdowns on the season, but we can not project two in every game, which makes Brewer a more attractive fade than it does lock. For the rushing side of the ball, Kennedy Brooks has become the lead back for the Sooners, seeing 15 or more carries in his last four games and 22 or more in his last two. Brooks is coming off of a 160 yard, one touchdown performance and actually saw his price drop $100. I don’t view Brooks as a lock, but I think he deserves ownership. Baylor is still giving carries to four different guys and for that reason alone they are not on my radar this week. For receivers, we start at the top for each team with CeeDee Lamb and Denzel Mims. As mentioned before, Lamb didn’t play in this matchup three weeks ago, but Mims did and caught six passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns. Outside of Mims, the Baylor passing attack was pretty quiet and spread around. With a high total, there will be an urge to plug in some cheap guys from this game, but I don’t think it is necessarily the correct play.
Main Options: Jalen Hurts, CeeDee Lamb, Denzel Mims
Secondary Options: Kennedy Brooks
Miami (OH) v. Central Michigan (-6/54)
It is tough when a MAC game is slapped onto the main slate as it is not something we have dealt with all season. There is a line here that benefits guys who truly pay attention to college sports and DFS as a more casual player may just avoid this game altogether due to uncertainty. This reminds me of this exact time last year when Marshall made its way to the main slate after not being on any prior and their running back, Brenden Knox, ended up breaking the slate. Though it goes against what I just said a bit, Miami (OH) is a team that I am avoiding completely. Their offense runs best on the ground and Central Michigan has a decently strong rush defense. Miami does not have a receiver with more than 26 receptions on the season. Central Michigan, on the other hand, presents a few interesting options, though Draftkings did us no favors and priced them up correctly. I think the most attractive option here is running back Jonathan Ward. Ward has 1,056 yards on the year while finding the end zone 16 times and averaging over 27.5 fantasy points per game. Ward isn’t super involved in the passing game but does have three or more receptions in seven of his ten games on the season. Miami’s strength on defense is stopping the pass as they allow 180 yards rushing per game. I think Ward goes way under the radar as his price and team are unfamiliar and perceived a bit high. In the passing game, Jacorey Sullivan and Kalil Pimpleton both present nice high floor options though the ceiling may be a bit limited as each has only crossed 100 yards receiving twice on the season.
Main Options: Jonathan Ward
Secondary Options: Jacorey Sullivan, Kalil Pimpleton
Louisiana Lafayette v. Appalachian State (-6/50)
Much like Miami (OH), Louisiana Lafayette is another team that I don’t foresee making my player pool and here is why. Levi Lewis has been a low ceiling quarterback all season and I don’t think there is any reason to chase a ceiling game against a strong App State defense. The rushing game was always ULL’s strong suit, but with the emergence of Raymon Calais, they are now running three deep between Calais, Mitchell, and Ragas. There is a world where one of these darts lands on a bullseye, but for proper process, I don’t think you chase a three-headed monster against one of the better rush defenses in the nation. App State has so much more to offer in this matchup and despite the lower total, I think the best value and some of the best overall plays come from this team. Quarterback Zac Thomas is coming off of a 38 fantasy point game against Troy in which he completed 82% of his passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns while also added one on the ground. My knock on Thomas here is his inconsistency, but that has stemmed a lot from either large leads or matchups where App State is challenged (IE: South Carolina). ULL does carry a strong pass defense, but I like the chances here with Thomas as one of the better tournament plays on the weekend. Darrynton Evans is having one of the best seasons that you have never heard of, as he has rushed for 1,250 yards and 19 touchdowns while averaging over 5.8 yards per carry. Over half of Evans games this year have went for over 20 fantasy points. The receiver side here is where I think App State should be hammered pretty hard for value. With the recent loss of leading receiver Corey Sutton, the buck has fallen down to Thomas Hennigan ($4,800 – 11 receptions for 140 yards last week), Malik Williams ($4,500 – six receptions for 42 yards and two touchdowns last week), and Jalen Virgil ($4,000 – five receptions for 95 yards and a touchdown last week). As you can see they all flourished as more targets opened up in the passing game though it didn’t hurt that Zac Thomas had a career day passing. The production out of these three can not be assumed to be replicated again due to this matchup, but one or possibly even two could very easily be in the optimal lineup this week. I like Hennigan the most just solely based on target share, though there is an argument to be made for them all.
Main Options: Zac Thomas, Darrynton Evans, Thomas Hennigan
Secondary Options: Malik Williams, Jalen Virgil
Cincinnati v. Memphis (-9/57.5)
We get a few rematches on this slate but nothing quite like a rematch of the same game played just one week ago, in which Memphis beat Cincinnati 34-24. I think the quarterback position can be avoided here, though it is of note that Cincy will have normal starter, Desmond Ridder back for this game. He did not start for the Bearcats last week. Despite having Ridder back, he has looked rough in his last two outings which have to be linked to his shoulder injury. Shoulder injuries and quarterbacks do not usually go well, so for that reason alone and not knowing his true health right now, I do not think he is in play. I view Ridder as more of a game manager this week than someone who is going to light up the scoreboard. There are a few outlier games on Brady White’s season, but overall he is a pretty low ceiling play. White has finished under 20 fantasy points seven times this season and if we get anything similar to last week paying $7,100 is not the route we want or need to take. On the running back side, Cincinnati back Michael Warren is severely underpriced in my opinion and should be once again leaned on in this matchup. Last week he took 21 carries for 122 yards and a touchdown. Memphis will likely game plan for this, but with Warren being only $6,300 I think talent wins out over the gameplan. A team can have the greatest on paper plan in the world but it doesn’t mean anything if the talent is just a little bit better. Warren’s price has actually decreased by $400 this week. The Memphis rushing game struggled last week with Gainwell and Taylor seeing a combined 25 carries for just over 100 yards. Both of these guys are priced up and as long as they are both healthy, neither is worth focusing in DFS. Gainwell is going to be a fantasy stud moving forward, but we can’t pay $7,500 if he is going to lose 10-15 touches to Taylor. My favorite overall play in this game, however, is Memphis wide receiver Damonte Coxie. Coxie has been on fire lately, scoring over 25 fantasy points in three of his last four contests and six touchdowns in his last four contests, including a touchdown in all of them. The kicker here is Coxie had six catches for 145 yards and a touchdown last week but his price actually decreased by $500. It doesn’t make much sense and I am not going to spend my last week of CFB DFS trying to figure it out.
Main Options: Damonte Coxie, Michael Warren
Secondary Options: Antonio Gibson
Georgia v. LSU (-7/54.5)
I can make this easy on everyone and simply state that I don’t think any single player from Georgia can win you a tournament this week, very similar to how no single player from Georgia has been in a tournament-winning team all season. Fromm is a low ceiling player, D’Andre Swift is banged up, and their wide receiver corp is spread too widely to land on the proper play, even despite the injury to Cager and the half suspension from Pickens. The LSU side is a bit easier as they have proved matchup-proof time and time again and the only concern here is whether or not you want to pay the price. I think Burrow is a better play than Justin Fields in the range, but I personally rather just pay up for Hurts. Though as I say that, Burrow makes for a high upside pivot, though Georgia does bost one of the best overall defenses in the entire country. This is a classic high powered offense vs. high powered defense. The sheer volume however for Burrows, Edwards-Helaire, Ja’Marr Chase, and Justin Jefferson puts them all in play for me but it doesn’t come without the risk. I did mention they have proved to be matchup proof, but this is by far the best defense they have seen all season. This will be by far the best game of the slate and I do not think you over-expose to it, but there will be pieces from LSU that will break their ceilings.
Main Options: Clyde Edwards-Helaire, Ja’Marr Chase
Secondary Options: Joe Burrow, Justin Jefferson
Hawaii v. Boise State (-13/64.5)
Hawaii was a team that you could really focus on the passing game early in the season, but with Cole McDonald and Chevan Cordeiro now rotating snaps and series, both players are out of play for us. This inconsistency in the passing game trickles down to the receivers as Jojo Ward has been a complete non-factor over the last four weeks. Cydric Byrd deserves some tournament consideration here, but he is really the only piece from Hawaii who is worth a damn even considering the high total. Boise State has listed Jaylon Henderson as the starter for this game and has actually looked very very good in his three games started, topping 22 fantasy points in all three of them. There is still a lot of unknown around Henderson, but he is passing with volume and even had a 45-yard rushing game and a rushing touchdown last week. Henderson would be an easy fade for me if this matchup wasn’t so enticing as Hawaii is giving up 430 yards of total offense a game though their passing defense is better than last season. Henderson hasn’t really found a favorite target, though Hightower, Shakir, and Thomas remain the three names to watch. CT Thomas is probably the guy who has benefited the most from the emergence of Handerson as his production has at least leveled off instead of the four-game stretch where he had a combined three catches. I think George Holani is still the best play here, even after a disappointing outing against Colorado State. The price remains low (another $500 drop off) and the volume is there. Hawaii is giving up over 200 yards per game on the ground and Robert Mahone only saw two carries last week (though one was a vultured touchdown).
Main Options: George Holani
Secondary Options: Cedric Byrd, Jalen Henderson, John Hightower, CT Thomas (GPP)
Virginia v. Clemson (-28/55.5)
I am going to skim through Virginia here, as the line heavily implies what most rational minds already know. I really wish this matchup was better as Bryce Perkins is playing out of his mind right now. In Perkins’ last four games he has topped 49 fantasy points twice and his down performance was in a blowout against Liberty. Unfortunately, Perkins and the Virginia squad runs into a Clemson defense ranked second in points allowed and third in yards allowed. This is the grandesque contrarian plays of all contrarian plays if you want to throw the dart, but really Virginia is a fade here. Terrell Jana is worth a look at $4,200 solely based around price and volume. Since he has been a short-yardage guy we could see enough receptions out of him to make it worth it, but the ceiling isn’t that high. Clemson, on the other hand, is fully in play. Higgins and Ross are both healthy in the passing game, Etienne should see the highest volume of the season in the most important game of the year. Don’t forget that Clemson is still making their case for the CFB Playoff and seeding is important when it comes to being 3rd or 4th. Etienne is my favorite running back play of this entire slate though with the soft pricing I expect him to be the highest owned player as well. With Ross having a huge last game and like everyone else, being priced down, I expect him to carry very high ownership as well. I think you can play multiple Clemson players and end up very happy, just know you aren’t being original in doing so.
Main Options: Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Tee Higgins, Justyn Ross
Secondary Options: Terrell Jana, Bryce Perkins (deep deep GPP, just a hunch + high rushing upside)
Wisconsin v. Ohio State (-16/56)
These two met about five weeks ago with Ohio State winning 38-7. The game was close until the second half when Ohio State didn’t let off the gas. Justin Fields has been an expensive option all season who despite being consistent hasn’t had the slate breaking games like a Jalen Hurts has. The Buckeye offense has been run through JK Dobbins these past few weeks with him having 67 combined carries over that span. Dobbins also has 21 rushing touchdowns on the season and 12 in his last five games. In the last matchup against the Badgers, Dobbins took 20 carries for 163 yards and two touchdowns. I can’t promise that exact output again, but the fact that his volume is so sky high and the fact that they are likely playing for the #1 seed in the CFP, lines up Dobbins volume with what he has produced in the last two weeks. His $8,000 price tag is still low in comparison to where he should be and makes him 1B to Etienne’s 1A on this slate, though those could be flipped very easily. The Badgers do have a strong defense, it is just that Ohio State is simply more talented. The wide receiver options for Ohio State are inconsistent, but the last matchup it was Chris Olave who has seven catches for 93 yards and two touchdowns to lead the way. On the Wisconsin side of the ball, Jack Coan is a too low ceiling to be considered in a premier matchup and Jonathan Taylor is likely going to be a tournament deciding player. Taylor struggled against Ohio State in the first matchup, being bottled up for 52 yards on 20 carries. But if Wisconsin wants any chance at winning this game, they will have to find a way to get Taylor going. The floor is lower than any other game for Taylor, but his ceiling remains sky-high. Outside of a bowl game, this is likely Johnathan Taylor’s last game as a Wisconsin Badger. Taylor is the best tournament pivot off of Etienne and Dobbins, but projecting him to outscore either is very hard.
Main Options: JK Dobbins
Secondary Options: Justin Fields, Chris Olave, Quintez Cephus (GPP), Jonathan Taylor
If you have read this far I want to give a sincere thank you for reading along with me all year and engaging with me whether it is on Twitter or Discord. As a community, we only get better. I hope you have enjoyed and learned from this free content and I hope to see you all back again next year. And if you are thinking it, don’t worry, there will be bowl game content all bowl season long including projections for all slates including showdown, cheat sheets for slates of three or more, and written content for slates with at least five games.
My projections are now live on FantasyCruncher and will be available for every slate all season for both DraftKings and FanDuel. Though this content is free I encourage you to take your game to the next level by considering a subscription to FC Premium. If you are a lower stakes player, FC Lite gets you all the tools that Premium does, just with a lower lineup crunch cap. I will post the link below for anyone interested. I will be in Discord chat (something that comes with a subscription) before lock of all slates if you have questions. You can also reach out to me on Twitter @iKezims